June 3, 1997
European Pesticide Update
European Union -- A study by the European Crop Protection
Association (EPCA) shows that average pesticide application
rates have fallen by 21% between 1991 and 1995 -- from 4.2
kg/ha to 3.3 kg/ha. The EPCA, an association of pesticide
manufacturers, attributes this decline to use of newer
products with lower application rates, improved application
techniques, adoption of integrated pest management and
national mandatory schemes for use reduction. In Sweden,
which has a multi-year pesticide use reduction program,
sustainable agriculture advocates have criticized this kind
of reduction which has been driven by advances in pesticide
application technology and new products with lower
application rates and higher toxicity. They have called it a
"phantom reduction" since it does not actually indicate a
break from pesticide-dependent agricultural methods.
Austria -- The number of registered agrochemical products in
Austria has been cut by almost two thirds since
implementation of the country's strict pesticide legislation
began in 1991. By the end of 1991, the number of registered
pesticide products was cut by over a third. During the next
five years, there was a further decrease of 46%.
Approximately 645 pesticide products were available at the
end of 1996. This compares to 963 products registered in
Germany, 1,176 in the Netherlands and approximately 320 in
Sweden. In addition, registration of new pesticide products
has been cut dramatically. Product approvals stopped for
almost two years after the law came into force, and only 23
new products were approved for use in Austria between 1991
and 1996. Austria registered 14 new agrochemicals in 1995,
while France approved more than 455 new products, the UK more
than 379, and Denmark more than 170.
Germany -- German agrochemical sales increased for the third
straight year in 1996, according to the German agrochemical
industry association (IVA). Domestic sales rose by 6.5% to
US$1,190 million, and exports rose by 9.4% to US$2,328
million. Although sales have increased, the association
maintains that application rates in Germany have fallen to
approximately 2.1 kg/ha, lower than the average EU
application rate and similar to the 1.9 kg/ha rate found in
Denmark, a country with a mandatory reduction scheme.
The IVA stated that Germany can only continue to compete on
the world agrochemical market "if it embraces technological
advances, such as biotechnology , in a responsible manner."
The association formed a biotechnology working group in 1996
whose goal is to improve public acceptance of the use of
The Netherlands -- Agrochemical use in the Netherlands
continued to drop in 1996 to under 10,000 tonnes as a result
of the country's use reduction plan. Annual use is now 55%
below the mean annual level for the period between 1984 and
1988, according to the Dutch agrochemical industry
association, Nefyto. Use of soil sterilants was 27% lower
than 1995 levels, and 83% less than in 1984-1988.
Approximately 1,743 tonnes of sterilants were used in 1996.
Use of herbicides dropped by 1.8% to just over 3,000 tonnes
-- 22% below 1984-1988 levels.
Spain -- Sales of pesticides in Spain in 1996 increased 16.5%
over 1995 levels to US$587 million. Herbicide sales showed
the greatest increase -- almost 32% more than 1995 sales. In
addition, volume sales increased by 86,700 tonnes in 1996, an
increase of 14.5% over the previous year. Insecticides
accounted for 33% of sales by volume, followed by herbicides
(27%) and fungicides (25%).
United Kingdom -- Non-agricultural herbicide usage in England
and Wales increased by over 13% between 1989 and 1995,
according to a report commissioned by the UK Department of
Environment (DoE). Herbicides accounted for 92% of the 675
tonnes of active ingredients used in non-agricultural
settings in 1995. The DoE authorized the report in response
to concerns over the risk to water quality and the
environment caused by an increase in amenity pesticide use.
Glyphosate and diuron accounted for 69% of 1995 non-
agricultural herbicide use in England and Wales. Local
authorities and pesticide contractors were responsible for
75% of amenity pesticide applications.
Source: Agrow: World Crop Protection News, March 14, 1997,
April 18, 1997, May 2, 1997, and May 16, 1997; Global
Pesticide Campaigner, March 1996.
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